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Published September 2005 | metadata_only
Journal Article

Aging and decision making: a comparison between neurologically healthy elderly and young individuals


We report the results of experiments on economic decisions with two populations, one of healthy elderly individuals (average age 82) and one of younger students (average age 20). We examine confidence, decisions under uncertainty, differences between willingness to pay and willingness to accept and the theory of mind (strategic thinking). Our findings indicate that the older adults' decision behavior is similar to that of young adults, contrary to the notion that economic decision making is impaired with age. Moreover, some of the demonstrated decision behaviors suggest that the elderly individuals are less biased than the younger individuals.

Additional Information

© 2004 Elsevier B.V. Received 17 March 2003; accepted 15 December 2003. Available online 15 December 2004. We thank Dr. Gail Murdock and Dr. Linda Clark, from the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, who coordinated the recruitment of the older population and provided demographic data for these subjects.We also thank Kathy Zeiler for her assistance with the loss-aversion methodology, as well as Neda Afsarmanesh for her involvement in the questionnaire design. The financial support of the National Science Foundation, the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship at the California Institute of Technology, the Arthur R. Adams Fellowship, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation are gratefully acknowledged.For their reading of and helpful responses to early versions of our paper, we thank an Associate Editor and an anonymous referee.

Additional details

August 22, 2023
August 22, 2023